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Jordon Long Finds Inspiration in his Art

Mar 30, 2018 11:00AM ● By Jordan Venema

Art & Soul

April 2018
By Jordan Venema
Photos courtesy of Jordon Long

JORDAN LONG PERHAPS isn’t what you’d expect an artist to be, but when have artists ever been predictable? A self-described car guy, Long owns and operates Interior Works, a business he started about six years ago.

“Detailing is the simple explanation,” says Long, who works on car interiors. “But I do a lot of repairs. Cuts and burns and rips and stains – basically anything that’s damaged, I can fix.”

The day job doesn’t exactly lend itself to the artist stereotype, but even before he put brush to canvas, Long was already exploring his inner Warhol.

“I used to do custom airbrushing on cars, and I’ve even painted Jesus on the side of a Harley gas tank,” Long chuckles. “So I’ve done art, we’ll say, just different mediums my entire life. As a kid, I even used to copy 

comic books.”

Then in 2015, Long helped his wife Elisha renovate her space at Visalia’s SAGE Salon, when she said she’d like a painting to hang on the wall. Long offered to help her find 

one, but she clarified that she wanted him to paint it. 

Remodeling was one thing, but a painting? He could count on one hand just how many canvases he’d painted, plus, “I didn’t have all the tools to paint,” says Long. With a bit of a groan, he agreed.

“But that was what sparked the fire again,” says Long. “It was Elisha. She’d been telling me for a long time to do canvas, even though I was more into drawing, car stuff.” 

But even with his muse, the painting didn’t come easily. Long attempted watercolor on a four-by-five-foot canvas, “and I totally botched it. It was horrible,” he laughs. 

No stranger to repairing damaged things, Long decided to Jackson Pollock the canvas, “just seeing what would work.” He dragged acrylic over the watercolor when “the colors just started coming through,” says Long. “It really had its own feel to it.”

Elisha hung the painting in the salon “and a week later she sold it,” says Long. For somebody who had never taken an art class outside of high school, selling his first “serious” painting was a surprise. Elisha asked if he’d paint another.

Long then got on a kind of a roll, painting every few months whenever a painting sold, but when asked if he would paint live at an event and display his work, Long realized he only had one painting – the one then in Elisha’s shop.

Regardless, Long agreed to paint at the event, and in three weeks he painted nine canvases for the show. Outside of SAGE salon, it was his first public exposure.

Long then began what he calls a guerilla marketing campaign, featuring his art in restaurants Ol’ Buckaroo and Panini Nut House, Maven Skin and Beauty salon and Suncrest Bank. He also participated in Visalia’s Taste the Arts from 2015 to 2017.

In three short years, Long has emerged as one of Visalia’s most prominent artists, though he would probably be the first to admit he’s surprised by his success. When 

he looks at local talent, he believes other artists have much more to offer, even when compared to cities like Los Angeles and 

San Francisco.

“There is as good if not better talent in our area,” says Long. “Visalia is super-talented. Just look at our photographers – just look at Peter Amend.”  

And though Long might be his own worst critic, he’s discovered that art has become more than a passion.

“I love art,” he states. “I’m a million miles an hour the way my brain works and the way I talk. So art – to me, anyway – is calming, and a lot of people who see my art agree. 

“It’s not even about money,” he continues. “I have a full-time job, so if I never sell another painting, I couldn’t care less.”

Instead, Long continues to paint, learn and focus on new techniques.

“I’m learning every time I paint, and just trying to fit it in because I love it,” he says. “It’s like when people find time to read a book. Some people can read for hours. Painting is my book.” 

For Long, that “book” usually is a mix of acrylic and watercolor, though he even uses house paint sometimes. 

“I’ll just throw paint on a canvas,” he explains, though he emphasizes particular colors. But despite the organized chaos, his paintings also employ geometric shapes and partitions of color that are reminiscent of the famous painter Rothko. 

Another signature of Long’s paintings is a white border.

“Having that border brings me to the center,” explains Long. 

Technically, the border may bring Long to the center of his art, but in a wider sense, his wife did the same thing.  

     “I’m the worst critic of my art, but Elisha, she’s my voice of reason. Sometimes she tells me when to stop, or when a painting is finished.” 

She was also the voice that told Long to 

get started.  •

Find him on Instagram •